German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

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Thread: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

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    German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    The Emissions Cheating Scandal has potentially even greater cheating.

    LOL

    "FRANKFURT — Germany’s high-end carmakers face a potentially destructive new scandal after European antitrust authorities said on Saturday that they were looking into allegations that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW colluded illegally to hold down the prices of crucial technology, including emissions equipment.

    If proven, the allegations threaten to further damage the country’s reputation for engineering excellence. That reputation has already been badly tarnished by Volkswagen’s admission that it illegally installed software in its diesel-powered cars to evade standards for reducing smog. The emissions scandal, which came to light nearly two years ago, may now be spreading to rivals.

    Growing awareness of the harmful effects of diesel fumes has prompted European cities to consider bans of diesel cars and has led consumers to reject cars with diesel engines, a largely German innovation that traditionally accounted for half the market.

    The backlash could take on a new, far broader dimension if it turns out that the excess emissions were the result of illegal collusion by a de facto cartel. The investigation could also lead to billions of euros in fines.

    In a statement on Saturday, the European Commission partially confirmed a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that said the authorities were investigating evidence that representatives of the automakers met regularly to agree on technical specifications for everything from brakes to clutches to emissions systems. The collusion began in the mid-1990s and continued until recently, according to Der Spiegel, which said it had seen documents that were part of an antitrust investigation.



    The commission said that it and the German Cartel Office “have received information on this matter, which is currently being assessed by the commission.” The statement gave no details. “It is premature at this stage to speculate further,” the commission said.

    Spokesmen for Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW declined to comment on Saturday. Volkswagen and Daimler have admitted some of the allegations to the authorities, according to Der Spiegel.

    BMW, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit and Volkswagen’s Audi and Porsche divisions dominate the global market for luxury cars, a crucial pillar of the German economy. Drivers around the world are willing to pay a premium for the German brands because of their reputation for precision and craftsmanship.

    “Since the diesel scandal began two years ago trust in the German auto industry has been sinking on a daily basis,” Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen who follows the industry, said in an email on Saturday. “Diesel was the Germans’ great innovation, but it’s beyond rescue.”

    The crisis has also taken on political dimensions. Chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to distance herself from the auto industry amid criticism that her government has lobbied for lax European emissions regulations that contributed to the scandal.



    “The diesel scandal came about because our politicians passed bad laws,” Mr. Dudenhöffer said.

    The broad conspiracy described by Der Spiegel included dozens of working committees that discussed how to limit competition on new technologies, including emissions systems.

    Though allegations of collusion are new, it was already clear that vehicles sold by almost all carmakers in Europe pollute more in everyday use than in tests. As a result, levels of harmful nitrogen oxides are higher in urban areas than they would be if carmakers were adhering to pollution standards.

    Studies last year by the British, French and German governments found that carmakers exploited gaping loopholes in European Union regulations to evade emissions standards. For example, many reduced pollution controls at temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, supposedly to protect engines from damage.

    Regulators did not notice because they only test cars at temperatures above 68 degrees.

    Some of the allegations contained in the Spiegel report fit in with what is already known about Volkswagen’s cheating.

    In 2006, according to the magazine, the German carmakers agreed to limit the size of the tanks used to hold a chemical solution that helps neutralize diesel emissions. Volkswagen and its Audi division have previously admitted in court documents that the tanks they installed in their cars did not hold enough of the solution, known as AdBlue, to last between oil changes. The company did not want the tanks to take space from the cars’ sound systems, according to a criminal complaint against an Audi engineer filed earlier this month in the United States.

    Rather than install bigger tanks, Volkswagen and Audi illegally programmed cars to ration the chemical solution — and produce excess emissions — except when engine software detected that an official test was underway.

    While only Volkswagen and Audi have admitted wrongdoing, all the main German carmakers have acknowledged that their vehicles may produce excess levels of nitrogen oxides during everyday driving.

    On Friday, Audi followed Daimler and BMW in announcing plans to upgrade software on diesel vehicles across Europe to reduce emissions."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/22/b...T.nav=top-news

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    I could imagine some "what if?" scenarios popping up like what if VW will be split into "Baby VW" like AT&T and Standard Oil?

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    VW seems to have admitted it.

    A bit more detail:

    https://www.thelocal.de/20170721/ger...esel-emissions

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues



    “The diesel scandal came about because our politicians passed bad laws,” Mr. Dudenhöffer said.
    Governments are inherently retarded and, without proper oversight (read: transparency and strong, well-informed public interest and participation in the political process), are almost guaranteed to be counterproductive.

    Pass emission mandates, don't enforce emission mandates, someone gets a green woody and starts enforcing the emission mandates you knew were onerous when you passed them and then let off on enforcing because they were so onerous... blame the victim.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Just more evidence that VW Group weren't the only one, just the first to get caught.

    GM Opel/Vauxhall were in the firing line as well but seemed to have reacted first to modify cars being built and offer retro-fits to existing owners.

    Fiat are also under separate investigation and since the GM Whisper-diesel can trace it's heritage back to the Fiat JTD, it would be prudent for GM Powertrain Torino (not part of PSA) to recheck all their testing.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sfbreh View Post




    Governments are inherently retarded and, without proper oversight (read: transparency and strong, well-informed public interest and participation in the political process), are almost guaranteed to be counterproductive.

    Pass emission mandates, don't enforce emission mandates, someone gets a green woody and starts enforcing the emission mandates you knew were onerous when you passed them and then let off on enforcing because they were so onerous... blame the victim.
    Look I get how governments around the whole world are pathetic and irresponsible, but when caught breaking laws, 'the government made me do it' sounds equally pathetic, when there was all that profit to be made.

    It's not like the carmakers don't get to lobby those governments; they bought into it, and reaped enormous profits cheating.

    And just like the Banks, they'll pay a fine, nobody gets in any real trouble; it's just "The Price Of Doing Business."

    They probably have the potential fine amortized before they even do the deed.
    Last edited by Carbide; 07-23-2017 at 07:48 AM.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    It makes sense that the German automakers would get together to act as a united front vs. government regulation, I believe American makes do the same. However, this is crossing the line if true.

    Doesn't change the fact they build excellent cars, but wow! And I do agree that their reputation is tarnished in certain circles, but I don't think the general populace knows or cares. Unless it comes out that the Germans are drugging people to believe their cars are great when really selling Yugos, sadly I don't think any of these scandals will have much of an impact. I think the only thing that might truly impact their reputation is if it is found they all colluded to raise prices....

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbide View Post
    Look I get how governments around the whole world are pathetic and irresponsible, but when caught breaking laws, 'the government made me do it' sounds equally pathetic, when there was all that profit to be made.

    It's not like the carmakers don't get to lobby those governments; they bought into it, and reaped enormous profits cheating.

    And just like the Banks, they'll pay a fine, nobody gets in any real trouble; it's just "The Price Of Doing Business."

    They probably have the potential fine amortized before they even do the deed.
    I don't think the automakers are innocent at all, but it's pretty basic game theory that the government apparently even ACKNOWLEDGED by not really enforcing their own laws.

    They're guilty and they broke the law, and there's no excuse for that; but if the consumer isn't going to buy the product the government is demanding you to make and you know it, what are you supposed to do? Do it just to prove a point, and sink yourself when your competitors are in the same predicament and probably just going to cheat, anyway?

    How guilty are you when you violate laws put in place by people who know nothing? At what point do the people responsible for creating the FRAMEWORK for this scandal accept that responsibility and acknowledge that they do things only for superficiality and political gain?

    Back in high school, I had a notoriously difficult history class with a bad teacher (old, taught nothing). I never studied, but why would I when I had the answers to EVERY SINGLE TEST and so did everyone else? Should I feel bad about it? Should I have? Why deny myself the easy route that everyone else was taking?

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sfbreh View Post




    Governments are inherently retarded and, without proper oversight (read: transparency and strong, well-informed public interest and participation in the political process), are almost guaranteed to be counterproductive.


    Pass emission mandates, don't enforce emission mandates, someone gets a green woody and starts enforcing the emission mandates you knew were onerous when you passed them and then let off on enforcing because they were so onerous... blame the victim.
    Looks suspiciously like a set-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbide View Post
    Look I get how governments around the whole world are pathetic and irresponsible, but when caught breaking laws, 'the government made me do it' sounds equally pathetic, when there was all that profit to be made.

    It's not like the carmakers don't get to lobby those governments; they bought into it, and reaped enormous profits cheating.

    And just like the Banks, they'll pay a fine, nobody gets in any real trouble; it's just "The Price Of Doing Business."

    They probably have the potential fine amortized before they even do the deed.
    I have to disagree with your premise. "Lobbying" is what people who MAKE laws say when they accept bribes that would put the rest of us in prison or at least Joe Arpaio's Tent City Paradise.

    After close observation of government officials since about age 10, my current theory is that 90-95% of elected and bureaucrat officials are not controlled by "personal philosophy and belief system" or "for the good of my constituents, the 'murrican Pipples!", but that DC, like ALL centers of power known to mankind whether Podunk City Hall or Moscow (oh heavens! Those Russians!!), is that bribery, blackmail, threats, mutual back-scratching, and a VERY large amount of substance abuse including Drug #1, alcohol, but all the others as well.

    This is covered in my humble treatise, A 12-Step Program For Addled Government, to wit:

    3. All Members of Congress, their staffs, the President, Vice President, and their staff and all Cabinet officers and their staff, and all members of the Supreme Court and their staff and workers, shall regularly be subjected to the same drug (including alcohol) testing that members of the armed services and other government employees are subjected to. These tests will be spontaneous and random, but any individual must be tested a minimum of every four months. Failure of a drug test shall result in the same consequences applied to active duty military members.

    4. A 20 question quiz regarding any proposed law will be given to all Members of Congress prior to voting on any act. This quiz will cover subject, content, consequences (including, particularly, potential unintended consequences), costs including hidden costs, and honor and respect for states’ and citizens’ rights. MC must score at least 90 percent in order they vote on that law. This quiz is initiated because so many vast, far-reaching laws are passed with many members not having read the bill—see #1, “The Prison Test” above-- and because MC s insert extra provisions which waste taxpayer money and appear to be favors to special interests, just prior to votes. It shall be a felony to violate this provision.


    Quote Originally Posted by sfbreh View Post
    I don't think the automakers are innocent at all, but it's pretty basic game theory that the government apparently even ACKNOWLEDGED by not really enforcing their own laws.

    They're guilty and they broke the law, and there's no excuse for that; but if the consumer isn't going to buy the product the government is demanding you to make and you know it, what are you supposed to do? Do it just to prove a point, and sink yourself when your competitors are in the same predicament and probably just going to cheat, anyway?

    How guilty are you when you violate laws put in place by people who know nothing? At what point do the people responsible for creating the FRAMEWORK for this scandal accept that responsibility and acknowledge that they do things only for superficiality and political gain?

    Back in high school, I had a notoriously difficult history class with a bad teacher (old, taught nothing). I never studied, but why would I when I had the answers to EVERY SINGLE TEST and so did everyone else? Should I feel bad about it? Should I have? Why deny myself the easy route that everyone else was taking?
    You gave the excuse to "break" the impossible law: Performing Job#1, which is staying in bidness and maybe making a profit so you can waste millions on idiotic "Real Dopes, Real People" ads among other things.

    The welfare office is always run by government. And like so many roads paved with good intentions, it's largely there for votes and influence, not "because we care about our constituents, the 'murrican pipples."
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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    I'm not seeing where anyone has said that complying with the law was not possible; only that it would cost them some of their profit.

    This is reinforced by the offering recently of 'updates' to the software.

    The collusion between German car makers was to help the Germans and hurt the competition in the world, by making their vehicles cheaper to build and to source parts from specific suppliers, thereby hurting everyone that wasn't in the German Cartel.

    This German mfr. collusion started in the 90's, long before the Diesel Emissions Cheating was a thing. It's just that VW let out the plan during discovery of the details of the original lawsuit, and when they realized they'd sunk themselves with the German Cartel agency, they described their scamming, and asked them to determine if was illegal.

    They know full well it's illegal. It's just a Come To Jesus ploy, they ask forgiveness, and pay the penance, again.

    Other manufacturers were able to meet the targets without cheating; it wasn't an impossibility that only cheating would enable them to build the vehicles.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    We've yet to see any brand on sale in Europe present it's full range of unmodified vehicles for independent testing so the suggestion that other manufacturers were able to meet the targets without cheating is without evidence - unlike the EPA regulations, a big part of the issue in Europe is that the EU-NEDC test results simply aren't reflected in real world testing - so car makers have been building cars which legally meet the European test but still produce high amounts of NOx in rela-world use.

    The primary change in Europe is to dump the EU-NEDC as not fit for purpose and start using, from this September, the new WLTP-RDE test - that's being done on an EU-wide basis.

    Car makers can only fit systems made available by suppliers, Bosch and Siemens - so of course they all fit the same units - accusations of restricting the size of Adblue tanks is a spurious waste of time, smaller tanks just means that users (like me) just top-up the Adblue more often!

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Collusion is not a crime in US-America. It has become a crime-by-implication thanks to the vast agitprop machine laughably called the US "news" media. And their apparently-coordinated agitprop--note they all use the same phrases the same day, "gravitas," etc., IS collusion at the very least. Considering the objective, it's conspiracy.

    Conspiracy is or can be a crime. And the bar for conspiracy is extremely low.
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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    Collusion is not a crime in US-America. It has become a crime-by-implication thanks to the vast agitprop machine laughably called the US "news" media. And their apparently-coordinated agitprop--note they all use the same phrases the same day, "gravitas," etc., IS collusion at the very least. Considering the objective, it's conspiracy.

    Conspiracy is or can be a crime. And the bar for conspiracy is extremely low.
    Right, it's conspiracy, which is a crime. Collusion is the actual communication involved in discussing the conspiracy.

    In this case, it's price fixing, as it is known in the U.S., as well as anti competitive conspiracy by a group of like minded conspirators.

    I get that you're talking US politics, and semantics are key to clearing your Idol, but the articles are concerning The German Cartel Office.

    Blaming the media isn't going to work in either case.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    A bit more on the table. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-0...garding-diesel
    Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

    On June 14, Reuters reported Munich, Home to BMW, Considers Diesel Ban to Tackle Pollution.

    Today, with strong overtones of regulators hopping in bed with industries they are supposed to regulate, EU’s Car Regulator Warns Against Diesel Ban in Cities.

    Munich, home to carmaker BMW, has become the latest German city to consider banning some diesel vehicles amid “shocking” nitrogen oxide emissions in the Bavarian capital.

    “As much as I would welcome avoiding such bans, I think it is just as unlikely that we can continue to do without bans in the future,” Munich mayor Dieter Reiter was quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.

    Asked about the latest nitrogen oxide readings, which the paper said violated European air quality standards well beyond busy trunk roads, the mayor said: “The results are shocking, nobody expected this.”

    The scandal over rigged diesel emission tests at Volkswagen has already thrown the future of diesel engines into doubt, and has highlighted carmakers’ struggle to comply with ever stricter rules on the nitrogen oxides emissions.
    Regulators in Bed With Industry?

    Flash forward to today.

    Banning diesel cars in European cities could hamper automakers’ ability to invest in zero-emission vehicles, the European Union’s commissioner for industry has warned the bloc’s transport ministers.

    In a letter seen by Reuters, Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said there would be no benefit in a collapse of the market for diesel cars and that the short-term focus should be on forcing carmakers to bring dangerous nitrogen oxide emissions into line with EU regulations.

    In the letter, Bienkowska told ministers she was concerned that the latest emissions violations at Audi and Porsche were discovered by prosecutors and not Germany’s vehicle and transport authorities.

    Bienkowska’s letter also called for all cars with excessively high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions to be taken of European roads, but said carmakers should act on a voluntary basis.

    Experts who have seen the letter to ministers say the commissioner appeared to be bowing to carmakers’ demands.

    “Her letter contained some important statements that we believe show the industry’s lobbyists have scored a big win,” Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said in a report.

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    Re: German Carmakers Face Potential New Scandal Over Antitrust Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbide View Post
    Right, it's conspiracy, which is a crime. Collusion is the actual communication involved in discussing the conspiracy.

    In this case, it's price fixing, as it is known in the U.S., as well as anti competitive conspiracy by a group of like minded conspirators.

    I get that you're talking US politics, and semantics are key to clearing your Idol, but the articles are concerning The German Cartel Office.

    Blaming the media isn't going to work in either case.
    Do not assume you know who my idols are, if I have any, which I don't.

    I am not blaming the media. I'm blaming the addled corrupt bribed legislators.
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